There has been quite an uproar as of late over Google's handling of the source code for Honeycomb, their most recent version of Android. The company announced this week that it would be delaying the release of the Honeycomb source in order to iron out some issues, specifically ones involving running it on small-screen devices (i.e. phones). Andy Rubin gave an explanation as to why these issues exist:
When you think of Android's openness, what comes to mind first? Is it the open source code of AOSP? Or maybe nearly 200 devices that run the Android now? Perhaps tethering, built right into the OS? How about the GPLv2 license requirement for manufacturers to publish all changes to the Linux kernel simultaneously with each phone's release?
If you are a custom ROM developer or even user, that last bit there probably occupies one of the top positions, and rightfully so - without it, proprietary changes to the kernel would remain hidden and would need to be reverse engineered. Manufacturers, however, don't seem to treat this license requirement seriously and typically delay the kernel source release by an indefinite number of days or even weeks.
4G is here - and it seems like all four of America's biggest carriers are more than happy to advertise the fact that they've got it. Sprint was first on the scene - offering their WiMax 4G, and T-Mobile shortly thereafter began its upgrade to HSPA+ technology. Verizon was next, providing mobile broadband LTE via USB dongle for laptops, though its much-awaited debut 4G handset, the Thunderbolt, has yet to hit shelves after numerous delays. Finally, lagging behind in truly characteristic fashion, AT&T has begun to roll out its own HSPA+ network, with plans to offer LTE in the second half of the year.
The Android market is filled with apps of questionable legality. But oftentimes, overpriced, branded theme and clock apps like those you'll find here are considered relatively harmless - who's stupid enough to buy them, anyway? Still, apps in this category are in clear violation of registered trademarks - and that doesn't sit well with their holders.
Google even has a page for developers and copyright holders to submit DMCA takedown requests for apps on the Market. Google's form guides you through what information is needed, and how to identify the apps in question - really, it makes the whole process quite simple.
While we at Android Police don't exactly wait with bated breath to hear what Steve Jobs has to say at Apple announcements like the one for the iPad 2 today, we would be fooling ourselves to pretend that Apple products don't directly affect the market for Android devices. While an Android fan's first reaction to the latest iAnnouncement is often to (understandably) bash the smooth-talking fruit company from Cupertino, I believe that today's events could shake up the tablet market for the better.
The hardware of the iPad 2 is hardly a game-changer. They didn't upgrade their display from the first generation iPad (which always looked a little bit pixelated to me), though they did make it thinner and lighter.
You've seen it: a new Android tablet is featured on some mainstream media's program or website, and you know it's coming, but you still can't help but clench your sphincter muscles just a little when you hear it...
Will it be an iPad killer?
Samsung's attempt to compete with the iPad...
The latest inferior and insignificant non-Apple offering that we're forced to cover...
Can't they see that this is like describing Colin Firth as a wanna-be Tom Cruise? After a while, you begin to wonder if these journalists have actually used an Android tablet. Do they even know what it is they're missing?
If you began drooling from the very first murmurs of a "Pure Google" tablet running Android 3.0 'Honeycomb', to the buzz at CES, through the anticipation building up to launch: your day has arrived and you likely now have a Motorola XOOM in your hands. Congratulations. Of course that would be the $800 Verizon Motorola XOOM that's in your hands. But what about that $600 Wi-Fi-only XOOM? Not only is it not in anyone's hands, but there has yet to be a confirmed release date either.
With nearly every Android phone capable of generating a wireless hotspot to share its data plan with a tablet, taking on the burden of yet another monthly data bill can seem like an unwelcomed guest to many users.
The raw power behind NVIDIA's soon-to-be ubiquitous Tegra II chipset makes for some interesting possibilities when it comes to gaming. However, there are certain pitfalls when one manufacturer leap-frogs the competition. Being the first to market in this latest generation of system-on-chips, NVIDIA has developers and exclusives pretty much at their beck and call. Who are you doing to develop for, the company with a multitude of devices hitting the market right now, or the "other guys" without any firm release date? NVIDIA's in a strong position right now, and it's going to do its best to solidify that.
Some of you may recall the stunt NVIDIA pulled with their PhysX engine, essentially crippling graphics on hardware without PhysX enabled - namely their ATI rivals.
Uhoh, he's at it again. No, I'm not going to make this a rant that is hugely controversial or upsetting. Seemingly contrary to what I write sometimes, I love Android. And anyone who loves Android can agree: the Android Market kinda-sorta sucks sometimes.
Whoa there, let me qualify that - some aspects of the Market are less than fantastic, and I think every Android user has come to realize this. In fact, I doubt it's a stretch to say that the Market's shortcomings are the single biggest reason Android hasn't eaten the iPhone for breakfast in terms of critical acclaim.
Let's be honest here: Android's current multimedia situation is a mess. For one thing, the included music/video players are seriously lackluster; for another, there's no officially sanctioned way to buy songs or movies from an Android device. Though such features are probably in the pipelines, I believe these are issues Google needs to address now - after all, the iPhone has had these features since its incarnation.